• HER2 mutation for esophageal cancer?

    Asked by danellsar on Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    HER2 mutation for esophageal cancer?

    Esophageal cancer patients- Have you been tested for HER2? Anyone get positive for this gene mutation? My understanding is that it hasn't been found much (at all?) in North America, and it's mostly found in asian populations. If you did test positive, did they put you on herceptin and did it help?
    Husband has biopsy for this genetic test this week.

    17 Answers from the Community

    17 answers
    • Gururobb's Avatar
      Gururobb

      Just started considering this. Will be talking to my Oncologist in the next week or so. Will Keep Ya posted. Nice to see Im on the right track :-)

      over 5 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar
      danellsar

      Rob- I have a family friend who's a researcher at Cedars Sinai in LA. She told me about HER2 and said that, for those who have the mutation and can take the herceptin, the research shows very good response in extending life expectancy. Apparently not too many people have this mutation, though.

      over 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      HI danellsar
      I was tested for Her2 and first came back border line second test came back positive. Yes they put me on herceptin but don't know for sure if helping or not just started it go back for blood work on Monday. I really don't have bad side effects so if they want to put hubby on it you might want to consider. Did alot of reading on it last night if I can find the web site I will let you know very interesting. Alot of this cancer has to do with your genes and just plain bad luck with them. Good luck

      over 5 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar
      redcct

      My husband wasn't tested for HER@ when he was first diagnosed, back in November 2010. But this past summer he was diagnosed with mets to the liver. They DID test for HER2 when they did the liver biopsy, and he is positive. Started treatment in July 2011 with Oxiplatin, 5FU, and Herceptin. Oncologist is thrilled with his progress, & strongly feel it is the Herceptin that is making the difference. Says he's never seen such a good response! even tho they tell us he is still terminal.....just now we've bought extra time. Who knows how long??? His CEA markers were nearly 1000 in July, just prior to his first chemo/Herceptin treatment. This past Tuesday, 12/13, his markers were down to 67!!

      Hope your husband turns out to be HER2 positive also!

      over 5 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar
      redcct

      From the research I've done, the HER2 mutation is rare in esophageal cancer.....so far. But they've really just started testing for it in esophageal and GI cancers. Herceptin was just approved for treating esophageal & GI cancers this past June.They've been testing breast cancer patients for HER2 for a few years, & Herceptin is standard treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer. Currently about 30% of breast cancers are HER2.

      over 5 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar
      danellsar

      After a looonnggg wait, we just heard that my husband is HER2 positive. He'll start herceptin this week!! :-)

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Maybe we are talking about 2 different things here, but HER2 (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2) is a protein enzyme, not a genetic mutation. A cancer is designated as HER2+ when this protein encourages the growth of cancer cells. Targeted therapy (usually Herceptin) is used to shut down those receptors and reduce the amount of this protein.

      over 5 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar
      redcct

      Nancyjac....you're right. It is a protein enzyme. However, since it's so rare for a cancer to be HER+, I think people tend to think of it as a mutation. Whether it's a "normal" differentiation of the cancer cells or a true mutation, I don't know. I'd have to have a much better education....it's way over my head!

      over 5 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar
      redcct

      I do know that HER2 cancers are much more aggressive & therefore poorer prognosis. But Herceptin has been very successful in treating breast cancer, & so far, for the few people with HER2 esophageal cancer that have been treated with Herceptin, it has been very effective also. I would tell ANYONE on this blog, please ask your Dr to test you!

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I don't know how rare it is with esophageal cancer, but it is fairly common with breast cancer which is what I have. And actually, all other things being equal, positive HER2 receptors (similar to estrogen and progesterone positive) makes the cancer less aggressive rather than more aggressive because those receptors can be targeted and treated, unlike triple negative cancers which rely solely on non targeted treatment. The long term prognosis for those with triple positive breast cancer is better than that those who are triple negative, statistically speaking.

      over 5 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar
      danellsar

      Thanks ladies. HER2 is a mutation (the test for it was in fact a genetic test via biopsy.... FISH/Neu study). There is very new research that there is some connection between breast and esophageal cancers, so many of the treatments that are used for breast cancers are also showing effectiveness for esophageal.

      We have a friend who's a researcher at Cedars Sinai in LA, and she sent us some of the information on the studies that have been done. Because it's so new, right now there are almost no esophageal cancer patients who are HER2+. That is expected to change over time. The treatment, herceptin, was only approved for esophageal patients this past June, a few months ago. It does, as described, shut down the protein receptors in the same way it works for a breast cancer patient.

      The reason they were suspicious of my husband being HER2+ was because his cancer was SO agressive and did not respond to either the standard chemo or an experimental treatment (clinical trial). He is young with no risk factors, but was diagnosed at Stage 4 with multiple sites. The herceptin therapy, along with other chemo treatments, is expected to have a great impact on extending his life and slowing the growth of his cancer.
      Ellen

      over 5 years ago
    • redcct's Avatar
      redcct

      Thanks for the clarification, Dansellar. To me it appears that HER2+ cancer is more aggressive in & of itself. But because it can be treated with Herceptin, it is a "good" mutation to have, because the Herceptin
      seems to be so effective.

      over 5 years ago
    • ogtxaggiemom's Avatar
      ogtxaggiemom

      thank you for clearing this up for me. We went for a second opinion and were told to ask our oncologist to test for the HER2. Thanks again for explaining.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Wolverine's Avatar
      Wolverine

      Diagnosed with esophageal with positive Her-2 Neu. Have had 8 cycles of m-folfox 6 with Herceptin. Results very positive so far. Tumor has been reduced, so swallowing is not an issue any longer, and the spots on my liver and lymph glands have so shrunk so they are not visible on the Pet scan. Due to neuropathy in my hands, the oxiplatin is being held back for 2 months, then doing another scan to determine whether or not go back on. Dr is very pleased with the results as am I.

      over 4 years ago
    • denise417's Avatar
      denise417

      No, I never heard of that and was not tested.

      over 4 years ago
    • justakid's Avatar
      justakid

      MY DAD DID JUST RECENTLY. Esophageal cancer was diagnosed at stage iv and spread to many parts of his body.HE IS NOW ON WHAT THEY CALL REMISSION. HE DOES HERCEPTIN EVERY THREE WEEKS. The long term out come is still not great with esophageal cancer but the Herceptin has slown things down greatly and with the minimal side effects this treatment doesn't leave him laid up as long after. The quality of the time we now have is wonderful. I recommend being tested for this treatment.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Jenvivace's Avatar
      Jenvivace

      I was tested when they did a fine needle aspiration biopsy of my tumor. I did not have it. They tested without my having to request it, but didn't tell me they did. I asked after reading about it in studies to find out if I had been tested or could be tested.

      about 3 years ago

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